Congress approves 2-week stopgap measure to prevent a partial government shutdown

Congress approves 2-week stopgap measure to prevent a partial government shutdown

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U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Gage Skidmore/ Flickr)

WASHINGTON — A partial government shutdown was averted Thursday afternoon following House and Senate passage of a continuing resolution (CR) that maintains funding at existing levels through Dec. 21.

The measure passed both chambers by a unanimous consent request.

President Donald Trump has said he will sign the legislation.

Had the measure failed, funding for several key executive departments would have expired after midnight on Friday.

The temporary reprieve sets the stage for a battle between Trump and Congressional Democrats over border wall funding just two weeks before lawmakers are set to leave town for the year.

The extension was agreed to so that the nation could spend the week mourning the loss of former President George H.W. Bush.

To many, Bush was the embodiment of civility and bipartisanship. Ceremonies and services were held in both Washington, D.C. and Texas after his body laid in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda from Monday evening to Wednesday morning. His remains were en route to College Station, Texas, via a funeral train as of 2 p.m. EST Thursday. He is scheduled to be laid to rest at his presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M later in the afternoon.

When both the House and Senate reconvene on Monday, the mourning period will be over.

Lawmakers will be forced to consider Trump’s $5 billion request for border wall funding.

The president has threatened a government shutdown if Congress does not provide the money.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are scheduled to meet with Trump at the White House on Tuesday.

Both Pelosi and Schumer have said they will not agree to provide more than $1.6 billion for border security — the same amount allocated in the FY 2018 Homeland Security appropriations bill.

It remains to be seen whether an agreement can be reached to avoid a government shutdown just before Christmas.

Democrats take control of the House in January and will have primary authority over the appropriations process.

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